Heliogen, the company revealing this new solar capability, came out of “stealth mode” this past Tuesday, November 19th with this announcement.
The overall solar technology involved here is nothing new. It’s called Concentrated Solar Power. It works by using mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a single area, in which typically a steam turbine utilizes the available heat present.
The specific breakthrough that the company has achieved is to be able to produce temperatures much higher than before. The initial temperature achieved is 1,000 degrees Celsius. The company is confident that it will be able to produces higher temperatures in the near future as well.
Backed by billionaires Bill Gates and Patrick Soon-Shiong, Heliogen’s technology shows real promise to be able to offer a green solution to industrial processes that account for 20 percent of the the worlds carbon emissions. Up until now, sources of renewable energy have not been able to produce energy at sufficient energy levels. In part, the technology utilizes artificial intelligence to enable constant pin-point accuracy for concentrating the light.
“Heliogen represents a technological leap forward in addressing the other 75 percent of energy demand: The use of fossil fuels for industrial processes and transportation. With low cost, ultra high temperature process heat, we have an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to solving the climate crisis.” – CEO Bill Gross.
It’s still early stages for the company and technology, but in time it can be scaled to offer a complete energy solution as it will be combined with emerging energy storage technologies.
One argument of solar detractors over the years has been that fossil fuels will always be required for the production of energy intensive processes like the creation of steel. This new solar breakthrough puts that argument to rest.
The power of the sun is continuing to to show its potential to eventually become our primary source of energy. Saying that it is just a matter of time before solar power will be our energy leader is becoming a safer and safer bet!